I cringed when I looked up the definition of patience in the dictionary.
The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Or “the quality of being patient, as bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like.
Yikes! I know I have some work to do in this area of my life.
Recently when confronted with some situations I knew would require patience, I had to remember to apply this familiar verse.
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James:1:4
As I studied James 1:4, I realized I have a choice. I could allow stress and trials to produce a sinful reaction or I could allow it to develop patience in me.
See testing as a tool that helps learn patience
Instead of stressing and fretting over the problem, try and see the problem as a tool providing a means to an end. The testing can be, in fact, a gift to increase my spiritual maturity—a process I could go through in order to allow patience to mature in me.
The greek word for patience is hypomone (G5281). It’s derived from the words hypo (G5259) meaning under and meno (G3306) meaning to remain.
Believers are “to remain under” or “bear up under” their trials. The testing of our faith produces hypomone.
This is a quality I want! And I can have it by allowing the stress to be a tool to develop patience rather than an excuse to sin.
Recognize anger as a symptom of impatience
When I have a short fuse with my kids, it’s often because I’m feeling stressed and impatient over other issues going on. Impatience and anger go hand-in-hand. Learn to recognize anger as a symptom of impatience.
Whoever is patient has great understanding,
But one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
Am I being selfish?
When life gets overwhelming and my focus turns inward, I find it difficult to notice those around me. I’m busy. Self-absorbed. Hyper-focused on my to-do list. When I’m impatient I need to ask myself if I’m being selfish. And many times the answer to that question is yes! I’m only thinking about my needs. My list. My time table.
Proverbs 19:11 A person’s wisdom yields patience.
Wisdom yields patience. Seeking God will give us wisdom and in turn, we’ll learn to be patient. We can seek the Lord through prayer, Bible Study, worship and being still before Him. Perhaps you have been taking on too many responsibilities. Wisdom helps us know when to say no, be able to let go of perfection, slow down and enjoy the journey.
Be still and don’t fret
I don’t have to wait until the problem is solved to be still.
I don’t have to wait until my to-do list is done to be still.
I can be still while completing a task.
Be still before the Lord
And wait patiently for him;
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
Be still. You don’t have to finish everything to be still. Tell yourself that you will not get angry or fret about the situation. Say, “I will wait with patience.”
Remember: God provides the strength to be patient
Sometimes I feel powerless to change. I could give up by saying I’m just an impatient person as if it’s a personality trait I can’t change. But it’s a character issue. I can change it with God’s help. God gives us the power to live out the fruits of the Holy Spirit. God’s power strengthens and equips us to be patient.
Peter admonishes believers in 2 Peter 1:2-4 that God has given us all things that “pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”
V.5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.
Instead of cringing when I feel impatience brewing inside of me, I find hope knowing that patience is possible and God gives me the strength to be patient if I allow trying situations to become a tool to mold me instead of an excuse to sin.
What areas are trying your patience today? How can you allow patience to have its perfect work in you? I would love for you to share in the comments.